Abernethy College Grove

Vancouver singer-songwriter Joseph Abernethy serves up a second helping of weirdly complex tunes on College Grove, his first album since 2004’s He Teeny She. Abernethy’s theatrically grandiose instrumentation works as effectively to create the dour, churchy tone of "Going Home” as it does to set a whimsical, tinkle-y mood in "Unforgettably Young.” Unquestionably beautiful but more than a little odd, the disc keeps its listeners at arms length with cryptic, emotionally detached lyrics. But at the same time, Abernethy sings his inscrutable poetry with a lazy, drawling ’80s Brit-pop vocal style that oozes with as much delicious melodrama as you might expect from the lead actress in a high school play. In fact, his morose wail and these passionately constructed compositions could very well whisk you back to freshman year and make you feel things as sharply as you used to. Wouldn’t want to live there again, but it’s a lovely place to revisit for 40 sweet minutes. (Spinning Gold)